Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Pursuing one's dream till the last moment

Recently, I listened (yes, listen; it's an audio book from to the biography of Einstein: Einstein: His Life and Universe.

Since I was small, I've always heard about Einstein's name. I even needed to study his relativity theory when I took my last physics class in college. (And, honestly, I still don't understand why the returning brother in Twin Paradox is older than the one who stays on the Earth) However, learning his life is quite a different experience.

No one will doubt that the most significant contributions of Einstein to the academic world were his introductions of special and general theories of relativity in 1905 and 1915. Since his great breakthrough in 1915, he started to purse the Unified Field Theory, an attempt to unify the gravitational and electromagnetic forces. Despite his repeated failures, he kept on tweaking his mathematical models and assumptions.

When he died in the Princeton Hospital on the 18th of April, 1955, twelve pieces of paper full of scribbled mathematical equations were found beside him. During the few days before his death, he was still working on his Unified Field Theory. I'm sure he knew that he didn't have time to finish his work. He just wanted to bring the world one step closer to the completion of the theory, even the theory may not exist in the first place.

How many people can be so committed to pursue their dreams until the last moments in their lives?

Although Einstein didn't complete his theory, I think he was blessed to leave the world when he was still on the road to his belief. It's much like a singer dies when s/he is performing on the stage, like Wong Ka Kui.

To me, it's the most dignified way to finish a life's journey... (*__* )

Afterthought: So, as a programmer, I'll then have to die in front of a computer, and I'd better be coding at that moment :P

Monday, February 18, 2008

The architecture of Getty Center

Went to the Getty Center lately and I was so impressed by, surprisingly, not their exhibits, but their architecture, which was designed by Richard Meier, a contemporary American architect. Here are some photos I took that day:

Took at the front entrance

Clean and elegant

Love how the sunlight is directed into the building

Like the curves of the building

Interesting garden

It would be so relaxing to enjoy tea in this open area!

A model of the entire Getty Center

I will definitely visit it again some day!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Jay Chou Piano Battle - 不能說的秘密 (Secret)

This is a nice scene in the movie 不能說的秘密 (Secret) by Jay Chou. I especially like the last duet performed by both of them :)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Need Help VS Deserve Help

When someone ask for your help, how do you decide whether to help him or not? Below are some factors I think most people would consider before making a decision:
  • the relationship with the person
  • what can be gained by helping the person
  • whether the person really need help
  • whether the person deserves to be helped
If the person is your good friend, of course you're more likely to help him. That's pretty natural: the better the relationship between you and the person is, the more likely you'll offer a helping hand.

Some people would think

"If I help him now, is he going to help me in the future?"

Though it sounds more like "utilizing" your friends, I think that it's pretty natural also. You don't really want to help someone who doesn't appreciate your effort; if s/he does, s/he should be happy to do you a favor when you need it.

Obviously, you also consider whether the person actually needs the help. It's certainly a joke for a millionaire to ask you to borrow him twenty bucks since he has no money to buy something to eat. This factor is not only natural but very logical.

But, do you consider whether the person deserves the help or not?

Besides finding out if the person actually needs the help, this is actually the most important factor to me and I'm always surprised to learn that people ignore it consciously.

You have a problem finding out the derivative of f(x) = x log(x+2) and ask me for help? No problem. First of all, do you know what product rule is?


Alright, how about a derivative of a function? Do you know what it means?


Do you actually know what a function is?


Oh boy, have you read the textbook at all? Did you do your homework?

When people ask me for help, I expect that they've done some work on their own already. It's just that the problem is a little bit too much for them to solve on their own and so they're asking for some hints. Don't you feel embarrassed to ask for help when you've not even tried?

The government helps people ONLY based on their needs. If you're unemployed, you receive money through unemployment compensation. If you're poor, you can apply for food stamps. The government does not care whether it is one's laziness or over-spending habit that leads to his/her poverty; as long as you're in need, you're given the benefits.

I understand it is difficult (both resource-wise and political-wise) for the government to decide whether someone deserves the help s/he needs on a case by case basis. However, it is difficult doesn't mean that it's not the right thing to do. Actually, it's right because the resources of this world is limited, we should only help the people who need and deserve it.

You may ask

"Well, let's say we agree to help people who deserve it. But, who's to judge? Everyone has a different standard on this matter."

People have different values. Nevertheless, there're general standards among us. If our values are totally different, laws wouldn't exist as we'll disagree on every one of them.

So, next time people ask for your help, find out if they've tried their best first. There should not be any gain with no pain.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Mii Editor - Create your own Mii character

Some day ago I replaced my profile picture with this picture

If you have played Wii before, you should notice that this is a Mii character. How did I get the picture? I created a character with Mii Editor and exported the picture from the site. I created another for fun, what do you think? :P